Obligatory Resolution Post

On our most recent holiday drive J and I started talking about goals for 2014.  I’m always thinking about the future in one way or another, so the combination of making goals + another January rolling around isn’t all that novel or inspiring.  And yet, it is a little.  If only because the arrival of the new year makes for some informative road trip conversations.

Most of my goals for next year are pretty self-evident to anybody who has read many of my posts.  I need to bring this thesis thing to a conclusion… one way or another.

Presumably in May I will become a parent.  My goals in that department involve 1) survival (both my own and that of my husband, dog, and future child); 2) getting into outdoorsy things again, as much as the child-rearing process allows; and 3) finding a way to return to my field of work in some capacity (full-time, part-time, or even on a freelance or volunteer basis) by the end of the year.

I’ll continue to support J in his transgender journey.  That’s not a goal really; it’s a given.  But it seems worth noting.

Finally, I need to get out more.  Do more things around town.  Make some connections here in our new home.  At this point I can’t really even consider us “new” to Boise, since we’ve technically lived here since March of 2013.  But our life so far in this place has been intermittent, broken by a summer month spent traveling, and a month in the fall spent on a work crew in another state.  The time I have spent here has been largely lacking in social interactions.  I’m fine with that on the whole, and can be very happy for a long time on my own, or with the company of one or two really close people.  But in the long-term, I need to start thinking about getting out more.  Participate more in the Meetup activity groups in town, meet some other new / expecting parents like myself.

 

I think something more needs to be said on this last subject, if only to clarify a very typical “shy / introverted person” resolution.

I’ve written before about my history of social anxiety.  It was a difficult chapter in my life, and a long one.  Repairing my self-confidence and generally learning how to put aside my fear in social situations has been a lot of hard work.  More than that, it has involved listening to myself and learning how to productively push my boundaries.

Back in high school when I was still painfully shy, I thought that forcing myself to participate in a lot of social activities would help me improve.  Certainly that’s what everybody advises shy people to do.  Back then I saw social anxiety as a door blocking me from the rest of the world, and I thought that if I bashed myself into that door hard enough and frequently enough, I would break through.

What actually happened was that I made myself depressed by expecting too much from my performance in social situations.  Then, when I wasn’t in social situations, I never really allowed myself to enjoy my solitude.  I didn’t realize the importance of having a time and place to recover in between efforts.  I was always telling myself to “Gogogogo!”  which was exhausting.  And when I was exhausted, I couldn’t perform.

It took years, but life got better.  Life continues to get better.

I realized that being tired and stressed out makes me do and say stupid things, so I took up some hobbies just for me.  I became a backpacker and I learned, incrementally, how to relax.  I allowed myself to enjoy solitude.

I continued (and continue) to put myself into social situations, but my expectations have changed.  Instead of looking for a certain level of performance or certain outcomes, I mostly just stick around for a while and try to enjoy myself.  Most of the time these days, I do.  When I don’t, or when an outing or visit just generally doesn’t go well, I don’t get as upset about it.  Instead I feel thankful to be living in a larger city where it’s easy to find a range of social activities to participate in, a place where “meeting people” is not only synonymous with “attending church” or “going to a bar.”

Moving into 2014, I know that I have work to do.  I need to get out more, to keep pushing my comfort boundaries.  When I think about social anxiety now, I can still see that door some days.  But instead of thinking I have to bash it down, I take a deep breath… and look for the doorknob.

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2 Responses to Obligatory Resolution Post

  1. Ms.Isabella says:

    I highly recommend preggo meet-ups. As much as it’s wonderful to have “your people” around you, having someone to chat with who’s going through the exact same worries/joys as you are is surprisingly helpful to your mental state. (At least that’s what I’ve found personally.) You don’t have to be friends for life, just support for right now…

    • pikaperdu says:

      Hi Ms.I, yep, I’m in the process of doing that. There’s a meetup with a parents and preggos group next week I’m going to check out. 🙂

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